Guest House and Conference Centre of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
SchlossMickeln stands in an extensive park in the Himmelgeist district of Düsseldorf. It has been the Guest House and Conference Centre of the Heinrich-Heine University since June 2000 thanks to the sponsorship of the Friends and Supporters of the University.
The manor house is part of an attractive group of historical buildings in Alt-Himmelgeist which includes the Fronhof farm, whose records date back to the year 1122, and the Meierhof, an even larger property from the second half of the 12th century. Himmelgeist's other outstanding building is its St. Nikolaus Church, which was built in the 11th century as a Romanesque basilica with three naves.
The youngest building in this complex is Schloss Mickeln itself, built for Duke Prosper Ludwig of Arenberg between 1839 and 1842. In 1835, the Duke had acquired the original Haus Mickeln, built in 1210, and the Meierhof, but these were both largely destroyed by fire in the following year. Only the ancillary buildings of Haus Mickeln survived. New estate buildings, however, were put up again on the original Meierhof site and they are still called Gut Meierhof today. Duke Prosper Ludwig had the manor house rebuilt in its present position by the Emsland architect Josef Anton Niehaus and it took over the old name, Haus Mickeln, later Schloss Mickeln.
The architectural plans for Schloss Mickeln were modelled particularly on engravings of villas by the 16th-century Genoese architect Galeazzo Alessi. Schloss Mickeln is one of the most interesting late classicistic buildings in the Rhineland. Old linden trees line the drive up to the house, a three-storey plastered building on a square ground plan, 19.55 x 19.55 metres. A string-course clearly separates the ground floor from the two upper storeys. Structured only by the window frames, the top floors are integrated by four colossal pilasters. All four facades are almost identical in their design, although the north facade (the front entrance) boasts an outside staircase ‑ flanked by two stone lions sculpted by the artist Ney – leading up to the three entrance portals, a central balcony on the first floor, and the Duke of Arenberg's coat of arms, three golden mistletoe flowers, on the second. The corners of the building have risalite reinforcements which stand out a little, almost like towers. A triglyph-metope frieze and a flat pavilion roof complete the cubic structure.
Düsseldorf's famous landscape gardener, Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe, designed the park grounds in 1843. His plan included both the Meierhof and the Fronhof estates and the meadows on the banks of the Rhine. Some of the original trees planted in the grounds still thrive today, for example two Lebanese cedars, plane trees and copper-beeches. In 2002, Schloss Mickeln park was radically restored and accessibly laid out for the EUROGA 2002plus garden show.
Roland KANZ and Jürgen WIENER (Ed.). Architekturführer Düsseldorf. Reimer, Berlin 2001.
Sonja SCHÜRMANN. Düsseldorf. Eine moderne Landeshauptstadt mit 700jähriger Geschichte und Kultur. DuMont, Köln 1988.